Profile: If it weren’t for his passion for dancing, Chado Namgyel would not have been able to kick the problem of addiction. Although most of the people around were not aware of his addiction, the 23-year-old had already started using substances since 2009.
In 2012, Chado’s school came to know about his addiction and he was expelled. He decided to quit the habit after the incident but he couldn’t really stay clean.
In 2013, Chado left to study nursing in India. However, he couldn’t complete his degree and had to leave midway. He was never really into studies, he said. “I was sent to Bangalore to study nursing but my real intention was to explore the dancing culture there.”
At the college, Chado used to spend more time inside studios than in classrooms. By then he was fully engrossed in dancing and had even decided to pursue dancing as a career. “It was not an easy decision because I had obligations towards my family,” he said. “I was told dancers have no career in the country and I would struggle to make a living out of dancing.”
Catastrophe struck Chado when he met with an accident while riding his bike towards his dance studio. He underwent a surgery on his right leg. His first thought as he hit the ground was that his dancing career was over. “I cried and lamented over my actions. I thought I could never dance again in my life.”
Much to his relief, he was informed that the injury was just on the skin. “I was now fully convinced that dancing was what I was born for,” said Chado, adding that against firm opposition from his family he had decided to take up dancing as a career.
During his short stay in Bangalore, Chado and friends formed a dancing group who later were involved in forming the Druk Dream Team (DDT) in Thimphu.
Today Chado Namgyel is considered one of the leading break-dancers (b-boying) in the country. Along with his friends, Chado runs a dancing studio, DDT, where he continues his practise and also trains dancing enthusiasts.
The self-trained dancer earns his living from the studio by training dance enthusiasts and performing at events and functions. He earns about Nu 5,000 a month and also manages to pay the rent for the studio. “The money is not enough, but for starters like me, its okay and I believe I’ve achieved all I could as per the level I’m at currently,” said Chado.
Chado believes he has a good team in DDT and hopes to represent the country someday at an international competition. “I’ve no regrets for I chose this life for myself,” he said. “We at the DDT are thankful to Dr Tregxel and Namgay Zam for their unwavering support to all dancers at the studio.”
He said that DDT was formed with an objective not only to provide a platform to all dancers but also to take dancing to a next level where people would be equipped with the right knowledge. “While dancing culture is subjected to foreign influences, we here at DDT value originality,” he said, adding that steps can be copied but how you use it and improvise it to produce a new chorography is important.
“There are many talented dancers around but they lack a platform. We want to offer that platform to them,” said Chado. “This would also address the unemployment scenario in the long run.”
This year, Chado is celebrating two special occasions of his life: one year of staying clean from drugs and also the first anniversary of his cherished dance studio, Druk Dream Team.